Ex-Derry keeper closes in on dream contract

�/Lorcan Doherty Photography - February 24th 2011.''Derry City Footbal Club 2011. Rory Kelly.'' Credit: Lorcan Doherty Photography
�/Lorcan Doherty Photography - February 24th 2011.''Derry City Footbal Club 2011. Rory Kelly.'' Credit: Lorcan Doherty Photography

FINN HARPS goalkeeper, Rory Kelly could win a life-changing one year professional contract with either Swindon Town or Leyton Orient should he impress in tomorrow’s Samsung ‘Win a Pro Contract’ final at Orient’s Brisbane Road.

The Buncrana man who was on the books at Derry City until joining the Ballybofey club last season, saw the competition advertised on a friend’s Facebook page and applied to take part.

And having successfully negotiated his way through three trial stages, Kelly now finds himself just 90 minutes away from claiming one of two winning spots and a dream move to one of the two English League One outfits.

“I happened to see a few people liking it on Facebook, so I applied for it”, he explained.

“Initially I thought it was all to do with votes and that I didn’t stand much chance, so I didn’t think much of it until I got a letter telling me I had been selected for the first trial in Liverpool.”

The Inishowen lad is currently studying journalism at John Moore’s University, Liverpool therefore travelling wasn’t an issue when attending the trials.

“Living in Liverpool has actually made it easier to an extent, as the first two trials were in Liverpool and Manchester, and the semi-final was in Swindon.”

The final will take place tomorrow at Orient’s ground and will consist of a game between the remaining 11 trialists and a Leyton Orient selection and with a potentially life-changing prize at stake for the winner, Rory is determined to give it his all.

“To be honest, in the first trial I didn’t think the standard was too good. I felt quite comfortable at it and didn’t really get tested.

“However, the second trial was a massive shock to the system as I was on the opposing end of a 6-1 scoreline.

“Since then, as expected, the standard has only got better and the semi-final was an excellent game.

“Compared to the League of Ireland, it is perhaps a bit slower and less physical, but some of the football on display was fantastic and you could really see that the majority of players were very good technically”.

Rory signed for Derry City from Buncrana Hearts at the start of 2010 and spent two seasons providing cover for Ger Doherty and Eugene Ferry, often watching from the bench as his team mates won the First Division title and then made an impressive return to the top flight, finishing third in the league in 2011.

The breakthrough at Derry never materialised for Rory and in 2012 he joined Finn Harps, making his league debut in a 3-1 win over Longford Town on April 14th.